I found TRP and MRP via reddit around September 2018. I was browsing the Divorce subs, once again wrestling with the decision to end my marriage. My wife and I have been married almost 10 years. We have 3 kids with another expected this September.
In the past there were two main hurdles I couldn't face when it came to divorce- how little I would see my kids and the financial strain I would be under. Until recently we were financially unstable and there was no way I could afford even a small apartment for myself in the event of a divorce, let alone a second home for my kids. I was already broke and unhappily married; I did not want to be impoverished, divorced AND have limited time to see my kids. Fortunately I got a new job and things picked up for us. I had hoped that more than few of my marital issues might resolve with a better paycheck, and to some extent that was the case. Soon though we were having the same old fights as the same old issues reared their head until finally, in the summer of 2018, I managed to mount one major obstacle to the Big D. While I would be set back financially, with my new job I realized I wouldn't have to live in a box. I was ok (not thrilled) with my post-divorce financial situation and crossed money off the list of reasons I needed to stay married. I was ready to, as MRP puts it, burn it all to the ground. To move on and not look back. I just needed a push in the right direction…
My life has been a long, meandering journey of collecting philosophies. I've tried on different religions like hats, dabbled with philosophical systems and even tried to create my own set of values and ideals to live by. In all I've tried to take the good and leave the bad and I'm careful to look for proof that systems work. If there are a lot of well-adjusted, healthy and capable people buying into X, I feel it's worth examining. On the other hand, if everyone following Y is miserable, depressed and can't hold life together I may take a peek but those are the Red Flags I tend to look for.
TRP was full of Red Flags for me. I'm married and one woman provides enough problems for me, the last thing I needed were several of them (plates). It seemed juvenile and toxic to both men and women. Here and there were small grains of applicable wisdom or advice, but on the whole I was backing out almost as soon as I stepped in. The married version, MRP, was a much better fit for me. Here were a bunch of married guys frustrated with their marriages and frustrated with themselves. They talked a lot like the blue-collar guys I work with (although more macho, to be sure). They talked about personal accountability, physical fitness, and the fundamental differences between men and women; all things that I could, for the most part, get behind.
MRP called me out on my bullshit. For the first time in my life I wasn't being coddled, I wasn't being told I was a "really great catch, she doesn't know what she'd lose if you left". I was lower than whale shit to them and they let me know it. "Read the side bar," "STFU and lift, faggot" are a few of the mantras I became too familiar with. So I set my pride aside, set my hurt feelings aside and did what they said- I read the sidebar material, I ordered some weight equipment, and I (tried) to STFU.
MRP says its philosophy will either save your marriage or bring it to a screeching halt. It promises you will be a better version of yourself who will have a submissive, well-behaved wife (although it might not be your current one). I think for many men, MRP gives them the confidence to divorce their wives, for better or worse. At that point I no longer cared if I stayed married and I was tired of one or both of us threatening divorce every 6-9 months. I had a "I have nothing to lose anymore" mentality.
MRP has done a lot of good for me. I've lost 40 pounds and look almost as good as I did in highschool. I have worked to set and maintain boundaries. I have removed from my life people who provide nothing but stress, anxiety and negativity. I have taken responsibility for my own needs. I have grown my self-esteem and self-worth and have stopped letting other people affect how I feel about myself. I am more confident and assertive. I have a clearer vision for myself and for my family. I have worked hard to kill some of my "Nice Guy" traits and learned to say "No" without feeling the need to explain myself every single time. I'm still working on not taking myself and life too seriously, but I'm happy with the progress I've made in these areas since September 2018.
Why I'm Moving On
Can I say honestly that TRP/MRP doesn't work? No, I can't. It might work in some situations with certain people in the way that a socket might work better than a box wrench. Maybe it helps guys get laid more, I don't know. I don't have anything but internet strangers to base my assumptions on. All I can tell you is why it hasn't worked for me.
My wife has OCD and anxiety. She had an eating disorder and some traumatic events as a child. Early in our marriage I tried to talk to her about some of them, specifically the eating disorder because she was still showing signs of it. Those conversations never went well and I gave up trying to help. I do believe she has gotten better, however I have occasionally found evidence she is managing her weight in unhealthy ways. What never crossed my mind was that people don't just suddenly stop being bulimic. Perhaps there are a few out there, like the alcoholic who sets a half-finished drink on the bar top and walks out and never touches booze again, but now I understand that these disorders often require both therapy and medication. The issue I ran into with trying to fit my marriage into the MRP box was the idea that women will "shit test" you to see if the New You is legit. These tests often sound like nagging or turn into fights. Because of my wife's control and anxiety issues and my own apathy and lack of awareness she had slowly taken over most aspects of our lives. When I started to try to be a bit more dominant, a bit more assertive of my own needs, trying to spend more alone time with our kids, she blew up in ways that made Chernobyl look tame. But MRP assured me this was normal. That, in fact, these were good signs I was on the right track. MRP is also fond of accusing anyone who tries to point out the idiosyncrasies of their situation of being a "snowflake". Most of them will almost verbatim quote Fight Club and tell you you aren't special, she isn't special, no one is special and no one gives a shit about you. If your wife has anxiety its your fault; you made her that way with your beta-faggottiness. If she's naggy its your fault because you've failed her shit/comfort tests. AWALT man, AWALT.
Well not AWALT. My wife worked hard to create a version of life she had control over. The things she didn't have control over were major sources of tension for us, but they were also major sources of tension in a lot of marriages (religion, where to spend holidays, large financial decisions) and so it was often difficult to discern if one or both of us was being ridiculous or if we were dealing with legitimate problems that went beyond the "normal" marital bumps. It wasn't until I went back to my therapist after some time away that I realized "Holy shit, my wife needs help." In reality MRP was making my wife and my marriage worse. She was so accustomed to being able to control and manipulate me or having expectations of me (that I too often met) that when I began to stand up for myself or push back the results were shocking. My therapist assured me many of her reactions and behaviors were abnormal and unhealthy and that she needed help.
There is no one-size-fits-all philosophy. We are all different. We are all fucked up differently. My marriage has been a struggle for so many reasons, not the least of which have been my wife's issues and my lack of self-respect and awareness. We seemed to create a perfect storm of unhealthy behaviors that only served to feed off each other. I am back in therapy to work through my own junk and to determine if my wife could be someone I can continue making a life with IF she gets the help she needs. Because no matter how "Alpha" I become, no matter how low my bodyfat and high my squat, no matter how dominant I am or how good I am with our kids, it can't change my wife's brain chemistry. I cannot give her the reassurance and security she needs. To think that MRP, or any system or philosophy, could deliver another human from the grip of a legitimate psychological disorder is at best naive and, at worse, dangerous and narcissistic. MRPers pride themselves on being OI (Outcome Independent) and on looking inward for validation. They rightly recognize you cannot pin your self-esteem on someone else. So to suggest if I were only "more masculine" that my wife wouldn't have OCD or anxiety is a recipe for frustration, anger and probably divorce.
In some scenarios MRP may hit the nail on the head. I think the women they describe are a lot like my wife and my mother- they are people who have experienced trauma and/or have psychological issues that require therapy and medication. I think those issues are excacerbated by men who are too eager to please, too afraid of failure, and too unsure of themselves to make a decision. They are prime candidates for a partner who needs to feel in control. They are "Yes" men in every sense of the word. I don't doubt many of the observations I've come across on MRP, only because they echo my experience with my wife, my mother, my sister. MRPers often refer to the women in their lives as children and I can say from personal experience that my wife's behavior is often childish. HOWEVER, RP lacks the awareness to stand back and say "Hey, you have this pattern of acting like this. Maybe we need to address this with some therapy?" Instead the advice given is AWALT, STFU and Lift, and "fuck her good and see if she still acts that way". My oldest daughter is starting to show signs of OCD and anxiety and has emotionally charged outbursts that are not dissimilar to my wife's. After some time I said, "She needs help. She's miserable, no one WANTS to act like that, no one WANTS to feel that way." So when my wife flies off the handle and blows things out of proportion, I can't stand there and think "Huh, guess I'm just not alpha enough for her...better STFU and hit the gym!" And to be fair, all of my past relationships were nothing like this. My past girlfriends did not act like children who couldn't be trusted, nor did they have extreme reactions to little things like taking a different way home. So AWALT goes out the window for me, although I do wonder if a good deal of these men were or are affected by women with legitimate issues like OCD, anxiety and PTSD.
The Red Flags
I have to admit I never totally bought into RP philosophy. To be sure any proponent of any system can always play the "Well you just didn't understand it/do it right" card, and maybe that's fair. Maybe I did miss "the big picture", and maybe a lot of the guys in those forums have too. I do believe a lot of the guys I came across have created some version of RP that is a bit of a caricature, but the roots are still there. And bad roots will not yield good fruit. There were several red flags I saw that always kept me reservedly interested in MRP.
The first was the lifting thing. I trained as an amateur natural bodybuilder for 5 years so I'm no stranger to diet and exercise. Over the course of my marriage I occasionally tried to lose weight and workout but it just never stuck. As far as numbers go TRP/MRP is fairly small yet it seemed every "veteran" I came across was moving fairly impressive numbers in the gym. It wasn't the weight they were lifting that bothered me; it was the fact that every single guy claimed they were lifting hard. Lots of them said they practiced Brazilian Jui Jitsui AND lifted. I don't know about anyone else but in my circle of friends I am the only one who is working out consistently. In fact I'm the only one who has ever worked out consistently. I work with a dozen guys and only one of them goes to the gym. I just don't know that many guys lifting so I found it a bit suspicious that each of these guys on the forums and reddits were doing it. Working out is hard, being motivated and disciplined to do it consistently is hard, and then throw in marriage and kids and work and its just a difficult habit to maintain.
Next was the money thing. Almost every guy, especially the veterans with their own flare, had six figure incomes (they let you know, believe me). I myself got really lucky and also tried to play some smart hands and landed a job that does, in fact, get me just over the 6 figure mark. But before that I wasn't anywhere near those numbers. And again, as I look at my friends and peers, I am the only guy I know making that kind of money. Not only that, people who are 10 or 20 years older than I am (I'm 30) aren't making what I make. So, again, I just find it hard to believe that EVERY guy on there is in that income range.
Now the sex thing. You constantly see on MRP how none of this is about her, this isn't about sex, it isn't about your marriage. Its all about you, making yourself better in every way possible. They preach not to let your self-esteem get wrapped up in your wife's willingness to have sex with you (which is, to be fair, good advice). Guys are always being chided for being too much "in her frame" and caring too much about what she thinks. But then everyone brags about how much sex they're having as if its the be-all-end-all yardstick by which we measure our MRP success. The last interaction I had with MRP someone asked how I was doing being that I was almost a year in. I said I still had some work to do but things were pretty good. One guy commented how he had achieved "total sexual submission" within the first year. That's all he said. So for a group of guys who claim to hold to their own frame, who have an "abundance" mentality when it comes to life and women, they really go the extra mile to say how much action they're getting. I'm sure some of them are and if that's what they want out of life, cool. But I came to MRP specifically to be a better man, father and husband. My marital issues were so far beyond a lack of sex it wasn't even at the top of my list anymore. And now I have the sidebar telling me to not get butthurt or whine about sex to my wife but also hey, if you aren't getting whorishly sloppy blowjobs you're obvsiouly doing this wrong.
MRP is definitely less misogynistic than TRP but its often not far from the surface, especially with men who have truly been hurt by women. I've often felt that people who focus so much hatred and angst at any one group of people do so because they hate themselves. MRP talks a lot about how joyful life should be, how carefree a man should be, that the world is your oyster. I'm all for that and there are guys who are (or claim to be) living that way. But there are more men who are angry and bitter and I can't help but think RP philosophy will only push them further into self-loathing and fuel the rage they have for women.
Lastly, MRP and TRP are echo chambers. There isn't anything inherently wrong with that and I think its to be expected anytime you have a group focused on common issues. A major part of MRP is the OYS threads- Own Your Shit. Post after post is humblebrags focused solely on sex. If they aren't humblebragging they're trying to figure out what key piece of RP philosophy they haven't integrated because their wife isn't DTF like a rabbit (AWALT man, AWALT). I used to watch Xavier: Renegade Angel and in one of the episodes Xavier is in a sporting goods store and has to distract the customers. He starts to chant one word- "SPORTS!" and soon the whole store is chanting it. That's the overall feeling I started to get, just a bunch of guys reinforcing each other because some other guys started the chant and once it starts you just cannot stop. In a word, a circlejerk.
To be fair, every now and then a guy chimes in and says something to the effect that "this isn't about sex, MRP is a stepping stone not a landing pad, STFU does not mean ignore your wife". I don't think its unreasonable to suggest that, at least for the Married Red Pill guys, there are good men trying to help. I think the ones who really "get it" aren't as Red Pilled as they portray; they're simply guys who needed to become a bit stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. Guys who never had boundaries and never said no. Guys who maybe were raised by or married a woman who needed to control life to the point it became intolerable. They found a path to mental and physical health, but its a meandering one with no real destination that's riddled with traps and wrong turns.
Everyone needs to hear different things at different times from different sources, and I can understand how a man gets so desperate for help that RP philosophy looks attractive. I get it, I really do. However, none of the good stuff that MRP offers can't be found in some books or with a good therapist. Taking good care of yourself, setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, being comfortable saying No, being ok with who you are are all awesome things that men AND women should actively be striving for their whole lives. But there are much better resources than the Red Pill.
Today, right now, I am unsure of my path. I have dealt with a lot since attempting to swallow the Red Pill. I have gotten my drinking under control (thanks in large part to CBD oil). I have been working out consistently, I am at a healthy weight and waistline and wearing clothes I haven't fit into for a decade. My self-esteem has recovered and I no longer feel guilty for my own likes, dislikes, opinions and actions. I no longer feel like a victim or that life is happening TO me. Yet for all of these improvements my marriage still suffers, and will continue to suffer unless my wife decides to seek help also. I am not sure if we have done so much damage to each other over the years that its even worth staying to see who she might be with the help of therapy and some medication. There have been enormous Red Flags in our marriage that I'm not sure any therapy can prevent from being raised again. In an ironic twist Married Red Pill likely will work for me just the way they said; either fix your marriage or end it. I now have the confidence to stand up for myself and not be steamrolled by my wife, and to tell her if she won't get help then I can't stay married to her. I have the self-respect to say No to her when I need to. MRP has forced me to ask myself, "Do I really want to stay married to this person?" I don't really have an answer just yet, but I hope as I continue to seek help from my therapist and continue to develop the positive tools I gleaned from RP the answer will come. For the first time I'm not so terrified of making a decision that I sit by being emotionally abused, hoping things will change if only I could check off a few more of my wife's boxes. And for the first time I have the confidence and self-assuredness to make that decision and be ok with the consequences.